Social Work Research Proposal

Assignment Requirements


Develop a Research Proposal using one of the following questions:
1. How can men or women in prison continue to be active parents? Note: women or men but not both
2. What are the social needs of children in foster care?
3. How can social policies support refugees entering Australia?
4. In what ways can social workers challenge and advocate on… national issue… where social justice is being denied? Note: insert your own social issue where the words national issues appear

The basic format for the proposal is:
Research Question
Background and Significance
Methodology (pls read social research textbook to make some understanding and extent the content) and Methods (it is the way of data-collection)
Sample (how many, who (if people) and how you will recruit individuals or groups; what (if items – eg newspaper articles in The Australian); dates if relevant

Feedback form

  Assessment feedback


Innovation and Research
Key components of this assignment Comment by marker
Strength and logic of fit between question, aims and method


Justification and rationale for the need to undertake the research topic identitifed in the context of the literature











Clarity of Aims




Justification and choice of Method(s)




Understanding of concepts; linking of literature to the research problem/question




Consideration of ethical issues and constraints










Use and number of relevant sources. Evidence of scholarly research using up to date sources.


How well are sources integrated into the argument?





Written presentation: structure, sequencing, flow, writing style, referencing, grammar, punctuation and spelling.






Summary comment



The Graduate qualities being assessed by this assignment are indicated by an X:
X GQ1: operate effectively with and upon a body of knowledge   GQ5: are committed to ethical action and social responsibility
X GQ2: are prepared for lifelong learning X GQ6: communicate effectively
X GQ3: are effective problem solvers   GQ7: demonstrate an international perspective
X GQ4:can work both autonomously and collaboratively    
Assignment grade/mark









The following assessment guidelines provide the main areas that need to be covered. You will need to cite between 20 and 30 academic sources in the proposal. The overall word count is the allowable 10% plus or minus. There is no introduction and no conclusion for the Research Proposal assessment.


The research title must be unambiguous – clear, explicit, grammatically correct and capture the essence of the proposed research



After clearly stating the aims of your proposed research, the Background section (the literature review) is presented in a ‘funnel’ sequence (broad to narrow) to place your proposed research in the context of what has already been done, to establish ‘gaps’ in knowledge and provide an argument to answer ‘why this research needs to be conducted’. It convinces your reader that your proposed research is a significant and feasible. In this section you will need to define key concepts using the literature and also provide an operational definition for your terms.



This section outlines your research design, methodology and methods. The reader must be convinced that your research design can be expected to produce high quality research data and findings. You will need to explain and justify your choice of research methods using the literature and social research texts. Some useful journals to search include Qualitative Social Work, Qualitative Inquiry, International Journal of Qualitative Methods.



This section convinces your reader that important ethical considerations are addressed through the research design and methods. If your proposal includes participants please refer to the UniSA Human Research Ethics Committee website.


An accurate reference list using the Harvard Author-Date System must be included. All citations must be sourced from scholarly literature.


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